Meet Austin who brings his software engineer expertise to us from the Lone Star State! He joined us in March, quickly hopping on to help build the Custom Document Types Feature which has been so helpful for our partner communities.
Hi Austin! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in McKinney, TX for most of my life, but decided to leave Texas temporarily for college and attend OSU in Stillwater, OK where I got my Computer Science degree. Now I am in Fort Worth, TX helping write awesome software for Forerunner. While I’ve been passionate about technology for as long as I can remember, one of the most impactful choices I ever made in my personal life was joining the marching band at school. Although my career path doesn’t overlap with music, I believe it is truly the greatest of the arts, and it is also responsible for the many lifelong friends I’ve made from middle school concert band through college marching band, including my wife.
What brought you to Forerunner?
Previously, I was in a big company setting where I felt I couldn’t contribute very much value. I started looking for a company where I could make an impact and was lucky enough to find Forerunner. Not only do I get to work on software that is impactful, I also get to be a part of an amazing, competent, and supportive team.
As a software engineer, what is a project you have enjoyed working on?
There are many great projects to choose from, but I enjoyed working on the custom document type project the most. Forerunner has a lot of tooling for managing Elevation Certificates but our users collect a lot of other documents in their day-to-day work (like appraisals, Letters of Map Revision, and floodproofing certificates). This new feature expands our software to allow our users to store and share any document pertaining to flood risk in one easy-to-access dashboard, which means they have to spend less time searching through multiple file sources. The document types are customizable as well, so that each of our partner communities can tailor it to their needs! I might be biased since it was my first big project, but I think the changes are very important to each account. Since we can now be flexible and support any document type we are able to use this as a base for any future document work that we do. It was also fun working with the map component since a lot of my changes that were made behind the scenes are now visible on our most prominent feature.
What do you hope to accomplish as you grow at Forerunner?
I hope to truly grow as a developer as I expand my breadth of knowledge and become more confident in the technical decisions I make. I would also like to become a better mentor to provide a transfer of knowledge so that others don’t have to spend time doing something that’s already been accomplished. I believe you can learn the most from teaching others and I look forward to more opportunities to do so.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Most days of the week, when it’s way too hot in Texas, I enjoy staying inside and playing video games with my wife or my friends. I play on a bunch of different platforms like PC, PS5, and Nintendo Switch, but PC is my favorite way to play video games. My favorite games at the moment are Sekiro, Counter-Strike, Resident Evil 8, and Stardew Valley. When it’s nice out, I love being in nature either camping, hiking, or sometimes playing frisbee golf.
As a native Texan, what are some places that you love visiting in the Dallas/Forth Worth area?
The Perot Museum in Dallas is a great spot if you’re looking for something educational and entertaining, but the architecture of the building is super cool as well. I love roller coasters, so I would also recommend Six Flags Over Texas if you’re looking for a thrill! For food (as a vegetarian) Spiral Diner is one of my favorite restaurants in the DFW area! They do a great job of replicating diner food that is entirely vegan.
What is your current favorite fun fact?
Some penguins have been known to gather along the edge of an ice cliff and then eventually one unfortunate penguin will be pushed so far that they fall into the water. All of the other penguins then check to see if the sacrificial penguin has made it safely and there are no predators around. Once the water has been determined to be good to go, then all of the other penguins dive in!
If you are interested in joining the Forerunner team, we looking to grow our team to help current and prospective partner communities in the U.S. better prepare for the impacts of climate change. To learn more, check out www.withforerunner.com/about.